Thursday, 27 January 2011

Skaven Warpstone campaigns continue

The Skaven had still not located a reliable source of warpstone on Palurin. Typhus knew that if he couldn't ensure a supply then Skaven industry would grind to a halt. It would only be a matter of time before a rebellion unseated him. Determined that he wouldn't show his enemies a hint of weakness he continued to dispatch expeditions across Palurin.

So far the most profitable warpstone deposits had all been found in the Kaalroen Empire, but it was an expedition to the Cloudy Mountains which struck lucky. In the snow covered peaks around Snowcap Mountain Clan Eshin infiltrators found a desolate valley where no snow lay or life survived. Plumes of greenish steam erupted from cracks in the earth – a sure sign of warpstone! Typhus quickly capitalised on the find, rushing forces north on a fleet of balloon ships the exploit the deposit. A mining complex was quickly established but it was soon found by the local Orc tribes who made themselves a nuisance with repeated raids. Aware of the importance of the warpstone to his continued rule Typhus himself travelled north to conduct an inspection of the facility and crush all who dared interfere with his divinely inspired masterplan!

After suitably awing the miners to greater efforts Typhus lead forth his forces to meet the Orcs in open battle. The primitive savages proved a poor match for the might of the Skaven master race and were routed from the field, their warlord and the remainder of his bodyguard being some of the few to escape. The fighting had cost the Skaven too, however, and Typhus himself suffered the indignity of having his tail trapped beneath a rock lobber's boulder. After his minions had rolled the rock off the angrily squeaking Grey Seer, Typhus made sure to have them killed so that none could report his humiliation.

The Skaven strip mining continued apace until all the warpstone had been extracted. Further expeditions came back empty handed and one force sent into the Kaalroen Empire vanished entirely, butchered by the fierce inhabitants of the Domain of Beasts. Still, Typhus' position had been secured for the time being.

Strange Fleet encountered on the Pan Coron Ocean

Between 242PC and 246PC a new fleet was encountered on the mighty oceans of Palurin. The strange ghostly ships with an unknown crew were first discovered by a joint Dwarf-Imperial fleet intent on exploring the islands in the middle of the Pan Coron Ocean, rumoured to harbour great treasures.

The first encounter in 242PC was inconclusive. The strange ghostly vessels were shaken off by the combined force of the dwarf and human vessels, but the allied force was unable to continue its exploration of the ocean.

Four years later the Sigmarites tried again, but this time they faced the "ghost fleet" alone, and without the dwarfs to help them the HSE fleet was all but sunk by the mysterious ships.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Armada of Boiling Peak

Following the Dark Elf raids of 227PC, Typhus, the despotic overlord of the Skaven, turned his attentions inward. Wary of future raids Typhus began expanding his domain down the coast of the Maemire Peninsula to protect Boiling Peak from future landings. Meanwhile he sought to secure his stranglehold on power by brutally suppressing all potential opposition and promoting his most loyal supporters to positions of authority. The increasingly paranoid Grey Seer's somewhat dubious grip on sanity meant that he always found plenty of conspiracies to crush!

After almost a decade of introversion the Typhurian Enclave had been all but forgotten by the other nations of Palurin but this complacency was shattered when an unknown fleet was sighted off the coast of the Holy Sigmarite Empire. The humans had thought the Skaven fleet confined to port, starved of the fuel they needed to power their warpstone reactors as no significant deposits had yet been located on Palurin. But unknown to them the Skaven had been busy building a new fleet. Consisting of wooden ships powered by the wind they were nevertheless armed with the most fiendish and deadly weaponry the Skaven could devise. The Sigmarites were in for a second unpleasant surprise: the Skaven armada contained a large number of war balloons, ranging from floating gun platforms to flying destroyers, all brimming with piratical raiders. Constructed from technology stolen from the humans and dwarves by Clan Eshin agents this fleet wasn't confined to the high seas and simply floated over the Armaethor Peninsula to steal slaves from the human's poorly defended interior farmlands.

A fleet scrambled out of Galamory to prevent the Skaven escaping with their human cargo but ignorant of the capabilities of the Skaven's new ships they were utterly crushed after inflicting only minimal casualties. The defeat was compounded when the crew of one Skaven frigate boarded a Sigmarite destroyer, stealing the rocket battery mounted on the prow before scuttling the ship.

Having been baptised in blood the raiding fleet returned to Boiling Peak, its holds stuffed with slaves and carrying yet more technology for the engineers of Clan Skyre to copy.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Fall of Aquila

Floriana Tyrannus watched ancient Aquila burn. The horizon darkened a sickly grey as smoke reached up to embrace the sky. The death of Scorpius had left the city in disarray. The Senate panicked and argued as to what to do next, even as the Dawi host encircled the suburbs.

The enemy armies had formed a tight cordon around the city that prevented any escape. The Dawi had worked their way through the slave districts and slums on the southern banks of the Tiban, “liberating” the humans as they marched deeper toward the bridges that marked the boundaries of the ancient citadel. The vampires tried to press-gang the slaves into fighting but the humans would simply throw down their weapons and flee to the Dawi lines to claim amnesty. The warriors let them past, uninterested in the humans. Their grudge was with the vampires.

War engines had been drawn up along the river bank as the Dawi consolidated their hold on the southern half of the city. Floriana looked on in quiet dismay as the machines hurled their fiery payloads high over the walls and into the northern districts. Lavish villas, sprawling palaces and colonnaded gardens- all of it went up in flames. The government buildings were ablaze, the fire dancing from the roof tops like wild hair blown by a gale. In all directions aristocrats and senators attempted to flee or fight or plead to find themselves a way out. But the Dawi blockade held them fast, and they burned within their ancient city or fell under the merciless blades of their conquerors.

“Fools,” she muttered under her breath, “if only you had listened to Scorpius sooner”. His coup had come too late, Floriana had realised. The invasion against Aquila was unstoppable, the fall of the great empire fated from the moment their enemies realised the true nature of those in power. The Dawi would never rest until the vampires were utterly destroyed. The undead were wholly anathema to them, it seemed, something altogether despicable and reviled. There was no chance for peace or negotiation. One side or the other would prove victorious and the vanquished would be reduced to dust. “If only we had acted sooner...”

Floriana contemplated how different the course of history might have been. Glavius and his cronies had assured them all that Aquila was safe. There would be an age of plenty, the feasting halls drenched with the blood of a thousand slaves drained each night. They had allowed themselves to become complacent and now they paid the terrible price for two centuries of weakness. She cursed Scorpius for being too late. She cursed her Uncle Dominus for dying in battle, cursed her grandfather Aquilus Magnus for passing before his time... The great dictators who could have saved them even now, but who had long since died and left the rule of Aquila to lesser men.

The last aristocrats in the city mounted a forlorn attack. From the hilltop, Floriana could see the doomed charge of a score a young noblemen, beautiful and proud upon great black chargers. They galloped full tilt down the boulevard that led from the senate house, a last act of heroism reminiscent of the triumphs of legend. They crashed gloriously into the midst of the Dawi lines, scattering warriors before them. Then they slowed. Then they were surrounded as the infantry closed on them and dragged them from their horses. Amidst the toppled ruins, the crumbling columns and the rent statues of the heroes of Aquila, the last scions of the vampiric families were extinguished. Their empty display of pride and defiance ended as quickly as it began under the blades of the relentless foe. There would be no glory, only ruthless destruction.

“What a terrible waste,” Atia sighed gently as they watched the nobility of Aquila crushed beneath the hammer-blow of the Dawi army. Floriana turned to her cousin, and set her mouth in grim contempt, “They deserve their fate. They were not fit to rule Aquila. Our grandfather would have...”
“Our grandfather died a long time ago,” Atia interrupted, though her voice was patient. She placed her hand gently on Floriana’s as if to sooth the seething bitterness in her. “It is too late to rue the fall such men. We must look to our own future.” She smiled, a calm smile that held a glimmer of cunning.

They were the only two left. Floriana and Atia had stolen away in the night. They had first tried to board the ships at the dock, only to find the Iron Fleet of the Dawi waiting in the harbour. Instead they fled south and disguised themselves by mingling with the slaves that trudged through the Dawi lines to safety, far from the battle lines. Dressed in rags and reeking of the slave filth was almost more than Floriana could bear. But it had saved her. No one looked for two noblewomen amongst the hordes of dirty, bedraggled humans. It seemed the Dawi despised slavery almost as much as they hated the vampires. They had taken pity on the humans and treated them kindly. The human emperor Karl the First had granted asylum in the Holy Sigmarite Empire to all of the freed humans. They would be given new homes and new lands on which to thrive, free of the tyranny and fear they had known for all of their miserable lives.

Aquila lay in ruins. House Tyrannus had fallen. But their legacy would burn brightly one day, Floriana would see to that. She and Atia would bide their time. And when they rose again there would be no room for weakness, or decadence, or the empty trappings of ‘civilised’ life.

“Idle dreams, for now...” she mused. Floriana straightened herself and raised the shawl over her head to once again obscure her face. She turned from the burning vista for the last time, stifling her anguish and bitterness, pressing it deep down within her. It would be the seed that would slowly nurture and grow in the darkness, she told herself, until one day it would bloom into a new vengeful dynasty. Floriana dreamed of power lost and power that would yet be.

The Dawi gently shepherded the humans on, the flock of refugees moving ever westward to their new lives...blissfully unaware of the wolves in their midst.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Imperial Victories 240PC

As the main force of the Imperial army was far from the Holy Sigmarite Empire fighting in Aquila it was with some concern that a large force of orcs was reported much closer to home, amassing in the Holwing Hills to the north. The Empire lacked an organised defence force but their Emperor Karl I was a shrewd politician and peacemaker. He called on the disparate factions of the HSE to provide what troops or support they could.

The military wing of the Sigmarite Church, Ordo Pacis, provided a horde of armed fanatics and knights of the Order of the Light-in-Darkness as well as the leadership of the battle hardened Friar Berhardt. Battle mages were selected from the Universities of Sudhafen. From the forges of Niederdam came the war-machines of the Engineer Brotherhood, including their most recent and jealously guarded invention, the DampfbehÀlter or Steam Tank.

It was this unusual force that took the orcs, under Warlord Edbiter, by surprise. After a series of raids on the smaller orc camps Berhardt himself lead the army to the Warlord and personally lead the charge against Edbiter. Surrounded by hordes of fanatics and trained knights, his axe blows bouncing off Berhardt's blessed armour, Edbiter lost his nerve and fled.

With the mighty war machines providing supporting fire and mages protecting his men from the evil magic of the orcs, Friar Berhardt cut down the fleeing orcs, scattering the Waagh before it could truly get going. But there was one final act of revenge, as a towering giant leapt in the air and came crashing down upon the Friar, squashing him quite flat before striding off with the rest of the fleeing army.

The Imperials had won a great victory, establishing a presence in Holwing and founding the outpost of Krahefort to protect against future orc raids. Meanwhile in the Great Cathedral of Sigmar a new mural was ordered known as 'The Martydom of Saint Berhardt'.

Elsewhere in 240 the Imperial navy encountered opposition whilst searching a series of ruins on scattered islands previously unexplored. Whether the forces of the Cuitlaxaochitzin lizardmen were protecting the ruins or plundering them for their own gain is unknown but their fleet was in larger numbers than seen before.

Despite the forces involved the Imperial fleet, directed by Commodore Forelle from the flagship Kraken's Rise, were able to draw on their experiences gained over the course of many years and take up excellent positions forcing the lizards to sail into the wind. Imperial cannons destroyed many ships at long range so as not to give the enemy chance to board with their vicious saurus warriors.

They could not hold off for ever though, and the Kraken's Rise was boarded and swamped by mighty lizard warriors. The crew put up a brave flight but were eventually slaughtered along with Commodore Forelle. This was the only low point of the battle as elsewhere the Imperial fleet sunk Cuitlaxaochitzin ships with impunity. Despite the loss of their flagship the Imperiuals had won a mighty victory.

Much plunder was recovered from the islands and returned to Galamory. Imperial scholars began theorising on the strange designs of the treasures bought back and theorised that they belonged to an ancient race until now forgotten about on Palurin.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Battle of Vadum Fords

The Dwarves spent years developing their weapons and tactics in the war against Aquila. Each sortie or raid helped yield a few more tantalising clues as to the strengths and weaknesses of the undead legions and their vampire overlords. The Dwarves sought the counsel of the Elves of Mellvellon, who were able to guide them in defences against the dark magicks of the vampires. By the year 240PC the Dwarves were ready for an all-out assault against their hated foe. In the early spring the ranger companies launched synchronised attacks against the Aquilan outposts, dividing the efforts of the defending legions as they struggled to bring the Dwarves to heel. The rangers harried the Aquilan armies strung out on the march, slowing their movements wherever they could before retreating back into the hills.

Runelord Alarag Hammerhand took the main strength of his host south along the River Tiban, aiming to strike down through the narrow Tiban Valley. In spite of the diversionary attacks against them the vampires eventually realised the ploy and quickly summoned their legions to counter the Dawi advance. The two armies met across the Vadum Fords, facing off along the long valley floor.

Scorpius Tyrannus himself commanded the army of undead soldiers arrayed against the Dawi. His eldest son Rufius led the van of the army as it rushed across the ford, with Scorpius and his younger son Marcus marshalling the main bulk of the legion as it made the difficult crossing through the waist-deep water. As the Aquilan troops set foot on the northern banks of the Tiban the Dwarf trap was sprung. Delaying the undead legions with weeks of diversionary raids had allowed Alarag to carefully prepare the field for his long-planned battle. War machine batteries concealed on the sheer slopes of the valley were brought forth from their hiding places, redoubts and firing positions having been dug into the hard earth and the weapons left there during the bitter winter, masked from all save those who knew where to look.

Now the Dawi had the advantage, raining a hail of shot and shell down on the Aquilan army as it floundered across the ford. Great stones etched with vengeful enchanted runes crashed into the midst of the skeleton horde, smashing bones and armour asunder. In the van, Rufius found himself isolated and easily enveloped by the waiting Dawi. Their seasoned veterans met the Aquilans with grim determination, gradually beating down their enemy until the Dawi warriors were able to outflank Rufius and destroy his force, the vampire being cut down with them.

Incensed at having been out-manoeuvred, Scorpius impelled his legions forwards against the typhoon of firepower laid down by the Dawi guns. His beleaguered army eventually met the foe in combat, though by the late afternoon Scorpius’ force was a fraction of its original size. Alaric ordered the King’s Guard to battle, knowing their great hammers to be strong enough to smash through the Aquilan shield wall. Surrounded by stoic, unyielding foes and seeing his army crumbling around him, Scorpius raged. With malice in his eyes he summoned dark and terrible eldritch forces against the Dwarves. His fell voice crescendoed until the incantation reverberated across the valley, as if the clouds themselves bellowed down in terrible wrath.

But the forces of magic were too much even for Scorpius to control. In an incandescent flash the magical backlash erupted amid the swirling melee, scattering Dwarves and skeleton soldiers alike. Scorpius had vanished, vaporised by his own malevolent spell. Without the iron will of their master the legionaries faltered and Marcus too was brought down beneath the crushing hammer blows of the King’s Guard. The legionaries’ movements slowed and their attacks became aimless as the necromantic energies binding them gently dissipated. They became easy prey for the Dwarf warriors and were steadily brought down as their army fractured.

The Dwarves were victorious. The dread Scorpius and his sons had been vanquished and the legions smashed. The road to Aquila lay open. The land would be scoured of the evil taint of vampirism once and for all.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Political divisions of the Holy Sigmarite Empire 240PC

Battle of Fort Collis

Within two decades of seizing power in Aquila, Scorpius Tyrannus had made a concerted effort to reverse the state’s apathy to military preparedness. He embarked upon a programme of building outposts and fortifications across the Aquilan border to maintain a vigil on all possible approaches to the capital. Over the years these forts and way stations allowed the Aquilan outriders to intercept Dwarf scouting parties and thus prevent the Dawi from gathering intelligence that they might have otherwise used to organise a massed attack.

The Dwarf-Aquilan war had drawn the attention of the Holy Sigmarite Empire. The Emperor Karl was eager to enter into an alliance with the Dwarves- the fickle Elves of Mellvellon and the inscrutable Lizardmen had reached an accord for mutual military support without consulting or inviting the Empire, in spite of Karl’s overtures to alliance with the two powers. Moreover, the predations of Kaalroen tribesmen to the north and the raiding of the Dark Elves along the coast left the Sigmarites dangerously isolated if a synchronised attack were to be launched against them by their enemies. So it was that Emperor Karl negotiated a coalition with the Dwarf Kings in the Treaty of Sudhafen, sealing the pact by despatching a grand army in support of the campaign against the vampires of Aquila. He hoped that one day the favour would be returned should the Empire find itself beset by foes.

Grand Master Godwin von Helveg led the Imperial Army’s first strike on Aquilan soil in his attempt to seize control of Fort Collis, a sizeable outpost on the northern border. The fort stood on a broad high hill that overlooked a great swathe of the Tiban valley that, if taken, could serve Godwin as a base of operations for further sorties against the undead. Reports indicated that Collis was lightly defended by Skeleton legionaries but that the monster Scorpius was himself leading an army to relieve the fort before it could be sacked.

Within a week Godwin had managed a forced march deep into enemy territory and was within striking distance of Fort Collis. He tasked the devout warrior-cleric Ranalf to take the stronghold, giving him command of the company of Royal Guard to storm the defences whilst Godwin himself covered their advance- Scorpius’ legions had by now reached the foothills around Collis and appeared to be assembling for a counter-attack.

Ranalf and the Royal Guard charged fearlessly against the gates of Fort Collis, smashing them to kindling and sweeping inside the keep. Yet they found themselves humbugged by Scorpius, who under cover of night had secretly changed the garrison. He had withdrawn the legionaries and replaced them with savage tribal ghouls drawn from the hills by the promise of carrion. In the dark, close confines of the fortress the Royal Guard struggled to bring their two-handed swords to bear against the animalistic ghouls that tore at them with fang and claw.

Meanwhile, on the slopes around the fort, battle was met as Scorpius brought up his infamous Wight Legion to envelope the attackers. Neither bolt nor shot nor shell could stay their advance. Under the gleaming eagle standard of Aquila they surged forward, implacable and dreadful to behold. The Dictator unleashed his bestial Gladiators, hulking vampiric monstrosities clad in armour and hefting swords as long as tree trunks. They crashed deep into the Imperial lines and scattered men in their wake. In an heroic attempt to buy Ranalf and the Royal Guard more time to complete their assault, Godwin sounded the charge against the Legion. He personally led the Alptraum Household Cavalry down the slope in a headlong charge, yellow and black banners and pennants fluttering in the wind and horns blazing as the very earth shook beneath galloping tons of horse and steel plate. They careened into the shield wall of the Wight Legion but the foul sorceries of Scorpius could not be undone. The proud knights were torn from their saddles and horses were cut down from under them as the wights fought with an unearthly strength and vigour imbued by the master’s dark will.

As Godwin and the few survivors turned to retreat the last of the Royal Guard fell to the gnashing jaws of the ghouls in the fort. Ranalf barely escaped with his life. The Imperial army sounded the withdrawl as Scorpius closed on the crest of the hill. The golden eagle of Aquila was raised in victory above the keep of Fort Collis.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Lists! Updated!

1 Kaalroen Empire 1,920,000
2 Holy Sigmarite Empire 1,420,000
3 Mellvellon 1,260,000
4 Dark Elf Dominion 1,230,000
5 Dwarf Kingdom 1,150,000
6 Cuitlaxaochitzin 990,000
7 Wood Elf Realm 850,000
8 Skaven 715,000
9 Aquilan Empire 315,000
10 Cloudy Mountain Orcs 220,000
Biggest Cities
1 Boiling Peak 435,000
2 Karak-a-varr 275,000
3 Lamentation 270,000
4 Sigmarheim 180,000
5 Sudhafen 175,000
6 Dragonspire 175,000
7 Phallucia 155,000
8 New Har Ganeth 120,000
9 Karak Brynaz 115,000
= New Skraeland 115,000
= Aquila 115,000
Wonders of the World
1 Boiling peak Complex 13
2 Great temple of Cuitlaxaochitzin 9
3 Tower of Phallucia 8
4 Cathedral to Sigmar 5
5 Dragonspire 5
6 Spire of Lamentation 4
7 Tower of Skraeland 3
8 Temple of Mannan 3
9 Colloseum of Aquila 3
10 Karak Debaz 2
Biggest Armies
1 Kaalroen Empire 29
2 Cuitlaxaochitzin 19
3 Dwarf Kingdom 19
4 Mellvellon 16
5 Holy Sigmarite Empire 7
6 Typhonian Enclave 3
7 Dark Elf Dominion 2
Biggest Navies
1 Dark Elf Dominion 34
2 Dwarf Kingdom 20
3 Mellvellon 18
4 Typhonian Enclave 16
5 Holy Sigmarite Empire 11
6 Kaalroen Empire 5
7 Cuitlaxaochitzin 5
Biggest Empires
1 Kaalroen Empire 302,500 sq mi
2 Cuitlaxaochitzin 157,500 sq mi
3 Dark Elf Dominion 130,000 sq mi
4 Holy Sigmarite Empire 125,000 sq mi
5 Dwarf Kingdom 110,000 sq mi
6 Mellvellon 105,000 sq mi
7 Wood Elf Realm 65,000 sq mi
8 Cloudy Mountain Orcs 50,000 sq mi
9 Aquilan Empire 35,000 sq mi
10 Typhonian Enclave 17,500 sq mi

Monday, 3 January 2011

Holy Sigmarite Empire 210-237PC

The reign of Heinrich II lasted 27 years and on land at least, was a period of peace and prosperity. His son, Heinrich III was crowned in the autumn of 210PC and he immediately began expanding the nation's influence. Unlike previous emperors however, Heinrich was a cautious and serious man, and preferred to avoid open war at all costs.

This resulted in 27 years without a major land battle involving the Holy Sigmarite Empire's armies. Instead the HSE began trading heavily with its smaller neighbours, Pellenar, Kustenland and Ebenland, the latter two having been entirely surrounded by Sigmarite settled land by the end of Heinrich's reign. Many took it for granted that the small states would be swallowed by their larger neighbour in due course, though Pellenar remained fiercely independent.

In 214PC the HSE fleet saw action against Typhus' fleet, but Heinrich III avoided war. Similar clashes with Mellvellon in 216 and then an even larger naval battle with the Dwarf Kingdom in 220PC rocked the Empire and even threatened Heinrich's rule, but the Emperor managed to sooth Dwarf anger. The fact that the battle had been an unmitigated disaster for the Empire's fleet helped, and this single encounter ensured the HSE fleet remained mostly in port for the next 18 years, rebuilding.

The HSE turned inwards, concentrating on the prosperity of the realm. By 235PC the population had risen to 1,380,000 and the cities of Sigmarheim and Sudhafen had become important centres of culture and learning. Two new cities sprung up during Heinrich II's realm, Galamory, on the coast of Galamor bay, and Gross Dortbeck, the capital of the new province of Dortland on the Great Canaur.

In early 216PC, aged just 17, Prince Karl married Lady Jane Fringsdorf and by the late autumn they had a son and heir to the Alptraum dynasty, Otto. This was followed in 219 by the birth of Princess Anna and in 222 by the birth of the couple's third child, Princess Magda. The happy situation at court was only marred by the death of Heinrich's sister, Isabella, in childbirth during 220PC.

By 237PC the old emperor was 76 and knew he was dying. His reign had been largely uneventful and although the HSE had prospered under it, many now considered the realm weak and less vital than others, particularly the aggressive Dwarf Kingdom and the ever expansive high elves of Mellvellon. The lizardmen and Dark Elf Dominion were on the move once more and the long dormant threat from the Cloudy Mountain Orcs had resurfaced.

Heinrich died in 237PC and was succeeded by Karl I. Karl knew the Holy Sigmarite Empire was surrounded by warlike realms and threatened as never before. The HSE needed allies, and more than the small kingdoms with which his father had made treaties. Karl began talks with the Dwarf Kingdom, Cuitlaxaochitzin and the High Elves once more, in an attempt to secure the peace and safety of the Empire.

Wealthiest Nations

1 Mellvellon 21
2 Aquilan Empire 6
3 Wood Elf Realm 4
4 Kaalroen Empire 2
5 Dwarf Kingdom 2